Overcomer honoree Kemi Yemi-Ese, Nigerian therapist and visual artist

The Nigerian American Multicultural Council (NAMC) will celebrate its ninth annual gala and awards ceremony on Saturday, March 5 at 6 p.m. at the Westin Houston in Memorial City. 

Since 2011, the NAMC Annual Awards Gala has been one of the most anticipated African-centered events in Houston. The ceremony will showcase the organization’s focus on celebrating Black excellence and resilience, recognizing the achievements of Nigerians in the diaspora and NAMC’s 10 years of impact in the local community.

2022 NAMC Gala Award Honorees:

Lifetime Achievement Honoree and Honorary Gala Chair – O.J Lawal, attorney

Young Entrepreneur of the Year – Clara Igwara-Anumege, owner, Elite Experience Events

Overcomer Honoree – Kemi Yemi-Ese, therapist and visual Artist

Volunteer of the Year – Akinyo Adoyo, director, Friends of Africa

Image Award Honoree – Simisola Kosoko (Simi), singer/songwriter

Officer of the Year honoree -Ufuoma Ojumah, senior project manager of Development, NextEra Energy Resources

Image Award Honoree – Simisola Kosoko (Simi), singer/songwriter

“This has been an interesting journey for us. To survive for the last 10 years as a volunteer-based organization is something to celebrate,” said Yemi Koyejo, president of NAMC. “We want to make a difference and show the excellence in our community.”

Koyejo said “Against All Odds” is this year’s theme and the gala will highlight the stories of Africans in the diaspora who have risen to the occasion and excelled in their various career endeavors despite the odds stacked against them.

Kemi Yemi-Ese, is a Nigerian therapist, visual artist and Overcomer honoree. In 2006, she was involved in a tragic car accident that paralyzed her at the cervical level of her spinal cord. Since then, she has used a wheelchair for mobility.

Instead of dwelling on the negative, she channeled her energy on growing her dual careers, challenging the perceptions of race, beauty, divinity, and living with a disability.

“I’m very humbled and honored about being an honoree. You forget people are watching and it’s amazing that people are inspired by my story almost 15 years after my accident,” Yemi-Ese said.

“In our community, talking about mental health is almost taboo and now they are seeing how much it matters. I want to continue with my therapy and art and focus on the kind of legacy I’m going to leave behind.”

More than 200 guests are expected to enjoy a celebration of live entertainment, networking, authentic African cuisine, and remarks from keynote speakers and notable guests.

“In the next 10 years, I hope to celebrate our 20th anniversary in our own building. Young people are here to stay,” Koyejo said.  “We have second and third generations [who live in the diaspora]. We have to support each other, shatter taboos in our community, and not lose sight of our culture.” 

For more information visit https://www.namchouston.org/.

Laura Onyeneho

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...